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Airline pilots begin handgun lessons | (UPI) -- The first group of about 50 professional airline pilots is going through training on the use of handguns in the cockpit.

Trainers for the Transportation Security Administration have begun work with several classes of pilots in a program that has gained wider acceptance since Sept. 11, 2001. There had been calls for guns for pilots as early as five years ago.

All of the pilots volunteered for the program and had the permission of their respective airlines. They are being trained in the use of .40-caliber semiautomatic weapons.

Training is taking place in special rooms designed to look like airplane cockpits so pilots safely can use their weapons in cramped quarters.

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